Is Home Depot Pressure treated safe for Veggies - Knowledgebase Question

Bronxville, Ne
Question by mlacha
June 13, 2010
I may well have a surplus of pressure treated wood left over from a retaining wall I built. Can I use it to build my raised vegetable garden bed?



Answer from NGA
June 13, 2010


I'm afraid the jury is still out when it comes to the safety of pressure treated woods for vegetable gardens. There are two sides to the story concerning the safety of pressure treated wood. One says such products are safe, and cites studies showing little or no leaching of the copper used for treatment. The other side has it's own studies and says heavy metals and toxins do leach at dangerous levels. So, I err on the cautious side and recommend gardeners not use pressure-treated wood for food plants. Try cedar, redwood, hemlock, plastic wood or cement blocks as alternatives. If you already have the wood and want to use it, line the inside of the planter with plastic to reduce the risk of the chemicals leaching into the soil, then fill with the topsoil of your choice. I'd go a step further and not plant root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes or radishes close to the edges of the beds. Above-ground veggies should be just fine. So as not to waste space, I plant sturdy annuals such as marigolds along the edges of my raised beds - it's attractive and will sometimes keep insects at bay. Hope you have a bountiful harvest!

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